By Anna Lardinois, Startup Storyteller
Arlando Monk had dreams of a career in technology.
Monk graduated from ITT Technical Institute in 2010 with a load of student debt and a degree that was not well received in the Milwaukee job market. He was further discouraged by the lack of diversity and inclusion in the companies where he interviewed.
“The industry itself was not letting enough minorities into the door. I sent over a hundred resumes, and filled out so many applications, but never landed a job. I was given so many excuses of why I wasn’t hired,” said Monk.
Frustrated, but not defeated, Monk decided to do something to change the Milwaukee landscape for BIPOC and women job seekers in technical and creative fields.
Today, Monk leads Visionary League, an organization that “connects people of minority representation to opportunities in the IT and Creative Service industries.” Launched in 2017, this grassroots group now has some prominent partners, including Northwestern Mutual, the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, and No Studios.
Concerned about the exodus from the city of skilled BIPOC talent, Monk said, “Our goal is to make sure that we keep people here in Milwaukee, instead of them leaving because they don’t have opportunities.” To create a most inclusive job market in the city, Visionary League offers Diversity & Inclusion training and professional development, as well as event planning services.
In partnership with Northwestern Mutual, the Visionary League is hosting Women, Wine + Tech 3.0, an event focused on the Diversity and Inclusion issues that impact women in technology. A panel discussion led by LaShonda Hill, a Human Resources executive at Colectivo Coffee Roaster, will also feature Tiffany Dillon of GE Healthcare, Sarah Dollhausen-Clark of Northwestern Mutual and Dylani Herath of Greenwood Inc.
Monk is hopeful that events like Women, Win +Tech 3.0 will create “a pipeline to job opportunities,” and begin to address the “cultural issues inside of Milwaukee corporations.”
To learn more about the Visionary League, visit their website